Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. urged Local Chief Executives (LCEs) to help strengthen the Barangay Anti-Drug Abuse Councils (BADACs) in their respective jurisdictions as the government looks to sustain the campaign against illegal drugs.

Speaking before Governors and City and Municipal Mayors in Northern Mindanao who undergo the basic Newly Elected Officials (NEO) Orientation in Cagayan De Oro City, Abalos stressed that the Marcos Jr. administration will continue the relentless war against illegal drugs and will focus on addressing the problems on the ground.

Abalos, who served as mayor of Mandaluyong City for three consecutive terms, emphasized the need for LCEs to help in strengthening BADACs to tackle the drug menace at the grassroots level.

“Humihingi po ako ng tulong about illegal drugs. We will intensify the war on drugs, and we will start at the grassroots. So please, I am requesting you to harness the capability and strengthen your BADACs,” Abalos said.

The DILG Chief said BADACs play a critical role in the Whole-of-Government approach in countering the proliferation of illegal drugs in the communities.

“Nanawagan tayo sa mga gobernador at mayors na siguruhin na ang ating mga BADAC ay maayos na gumagana at nakakatulong sa pagprotekta sa mga komunidad laban sa iligal na droga at mga tagapagpalaganap nito,” Abalos said.

BADAC is the grassroots program of the DILG aimed at organizing barangay officials and other stakeholders as first line of defense in countering drug-related crimes in barangays.

Among its responsibilities are identifying drug-affected areas; creating BADAC Plan of Action; equipping Barangay Tanods and BADAC Auxiliary Team on their roles and functions in the campaign against illegal drugs; assisting persons who used drugs (PWUDs) who surrendered to Barangay Rehabilitation and Referral Desk; and, monitoring individuals who are undertaking Community-Based Rehabilitation Treatment.

A government that listens

DILG Secretary Abalos also assured the LCEs in Northern Mindanao that the administration of President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, Jr. is a government that listens and actively seeks consultations with local officials and various stakeholders on issues being encountered on the ground.

He noted that the DILG will keep its lines open for all LCEs to be an efficient bridge between the national and local governments.

“Huwag kayong mahihiya sa akin. Do not treat me as a Secretary, it’s the other way around. Kayo ang boss ko,” Abalos said.

“I’m here to serve you not for me to just give orders. I’m not that kind of person. That is how we shall espouse unity among us, that is how we shall espouse being proactive,” he added.

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